Electric Thinking Cap?

Flash of Fresh Insight by Electrical Brain Stimulation.

Are we on the verge of being able to stimulate the brain to see the world anew — an electric thinking cap? Research by Richard Chi and Allan Snyder from the Centre for the Mind at the University of Sydney suggests that this could be the case.

They found that participants who received electrical stimulation of the anterior temporal lobes were three times as likely to reach the fresh insight necessary to solve a difficult, unfamiliar problem than those in the control group. The study published on February 2 in the open-access journal PLoS ONE.

According to the authors, our propensity to rigidly apply strategies and insights that have had previous success is a major bottleneck to making creative leaps in solving new problems. There is normally a cognitive tradeoff between the necessity of being fast at the familiar on one hand and being receptive to novelty on the other.

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